Are you starting a remote job? Are you talking your employer into letting you work remotely? Maybe you have quit your job and have started freelancing. We’ve all been beginners before, so we wanted to share our best tips with you for working remotely.
1) Start your day with a routine
When you worked in an office, you commuted to work every morning. You had to get ready - shower, brush your teeth, wash your face, eat breakfast, and everything in between. But now, you don’t have any obligations before work… you don't even need to put pants on if you don’t want to!
So we suggest starting your day with a routine. Definitely get ready and eat breakfast, that will make you feel better - you can also work out, journal, meditate, dance, or whatever gets you into a productive mood. This will make a huge difference in your day.
2) Over Communicate
If there’s anything you take away from this post, let it be this: you need to be very communicative when you are working remotely. You need to have an effective form of communication with your employer at all times. Schedule 1:1 check-in calls, update them on your weekly and monthly goals, and let them know where everything is at.
When you are not in the office it can be hard for your employer to see the work you are doing and the work you have completed. It is your responsibility to let them know how much you are actually getting done.
3) Clarify your personal vision
To stay focused and motivated, it’s important to set your personal vision - what you want for your future. Then act on these visions, make goals and stay focused. Review your accomplishments daily and reflect on where you want to go next.
4) Use the Pomodoro Technique to focus
If you have a hard time focusing and getting things done, we suggest using the Pomodoro technique to get focused. The way to do this is to set a timer for 25 minutes and get to work during that time - absolutely no distractions. After that time is up, set another timer for 5 minutes. During this time, you walk around, stretch, get a coffee, and really rest your brain. Repeat.
5) Invest in reliable equipment
If you’re a freelancer or your equipment is not provided for you, you definitely need to invest in equipment that will work best for you. This is not just a laptop, but also your mouse, your external drive, your headphones, and everything in between. If you’ll be at a coworking place, you’ll want to make sure everything is light and fits in your backpack as well!
In addition to the physical equipment, you want to take into consideration your environment as well. Is it a quiet environment or do you need noise-cancelling headphones? Do you need to get a VPN on your computer? Is there good wifi? Are there too many distractions around you that you need to get rid of? Is the lighting good? Make sure to really create a great atmosphere.
6) Maintain regular working hours
You want to make sure that those who you need to communicate with know when you’ll be online and offline. This is why we suggest setting working hours that work for you. This does not mean you need to stick to these hours every day, but you should try to keep them as close as possible so that your team members and clients know when they can reach you and when to expect a response.
7) Take scheduled breaks
Along with having a set work schedule, you should have regular breaks during the day. Trust us when we say, you can’t work 8 hours straight without taking a break - it’s unproductive and not good for your well-being. We suggest taking at least two fifteen-minute breaks and one 30-60 minute break for lunch. If you’re using the Pomodoro method above, you should still be taking the three other longer breaks.
8) Make it hard to use social media
Social media can be the death of productivity. If you’re busy scrolling Instagram instead of working, you’re not going to get much done, are you? Plus, it can also make you feel inadequate or dissatisfied which also kills productivity. There are a few ways to make it hard to use social media - you could turn off notifications, hide social media apps from your home page, or even set a daily limit for how much time you can spend on social media.
As someone who works remotely, it can be very hard to socialize. There are no more kitchen chats with coworkers, no lunch dates, and no water cooler chats. If you don’t intentionally socialize, especially if you live alone, you can become very isolated, which can trigger feelings of anxiety or depression.
Make sure to reach out to friends to set up coffee dates or lunch dates. Talk to coworkers throughout the day on Slack or Zoom. Even meet up with coworkers in person for lunch if you’re feeling up to it! The whole point is to make sure that you don’t isolate yourself from the outside world.
10) Be sure on your employer’s working policies
Before you make any changes to your working times, working equipment, or working location, make sure you know what your employer’s policies are on working remotely. Some employers are okay with you working across the world, as long as you’re getting your work done and you’re communicating. Others prefer you to be available during certain hours of the day. Make sure to check before making any changes!
11) Set ground rules for friends and family
Just because you’re working from home now, does not mean that you are available full-time to them. When you first start working from home, make sure you set ground rules with everyone on when you’re available and when you’re not. Especially set rules with the people you live with as you don't want them to think you’ll be available to cook and clean all day just because you're at home.
12) Take time for self=care
Just like when you’re in a 9-5 corporate job, you still need to take time for yourself. Just because you’re working from home does not mean you shouldn't take care of yourself. When that line between work and home starts to disappear, it’s time to take a beat. This could mean having a fitness routine, a morning routine, an evening routine, or a hobby or two.
One of our community members bakes as a hobby to clear her head and take care of herself. This helps with her mental health and gives her a break. Another member reads to clear her head. She has 1-2 books going at a time and when she needs to take a break from work, she breaks out one of her books.
13) Have a community
Whether it’s your mom or your best friend or your significant other or even a therapist, it’s important to have someone that you can talk things through with. Things can get heavy when you're working remotely - you are in a new environment, you can get feelings of being alone, you can even feel depressed - you should have someone that can be a shoulder when you need it.
Make sure that it’s reciprocated, you should be able to support them too. However, make sure they give you space to feel your feelings.
14) Take sick days
This one can be really hard when the line between work and life is blurred. But you should still take sick days if you need them and actually take the date off. No working while sick just because you’re at home in your pajamas and have your laptop. Turn off your laptop and phone and turn on Netflix - your body needs rest when you are sick, so take the rest.
15) Be positive
In a crazy world, it can be hard to remain positive all the time. However, when you are positive, your outlook on life is much more positive, and your quality of life is greatly improved. Additionally, reading the tone of a message can be hard in a remote environment, so make sure to assume that it’s positive until proven otherwise. Embrace the exclamation point and find your favorite emoji (ours is 🥳), you’ll need them!
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